Most people are aware of the health benefits that come with having sex. After all – sex is, in fact, exercise, and everyone can appreciate the fact that burning calories while enjoying sex is like a packaged deal. However, studies suggest that there are even more benefits that come with sex, beyond a healthier heart.
Sex is an Immune Booster
The first, and somewhat surprising, positive effect of sex is a healthier immune system. You see, doctors evaluate immune systems by assessing levels of the antigen immunoglobulin A, or IGa, which can help your body fight infections. IGa is found in saliva and mucosal linings, and it plays a vital role in the body’s immunity. In fact, IGa produces about 75% of the body’s total immunoglobulin.
Evidence connecting higher IGa levels to sex on a regular basis was found in a study conducted at Wilkes University. Participants in the study who had sex once or twice a week had IGa levels that were 30% higher than those participants who were abstinent. Careful though – participants who engaged in very frequent sex (three or more times a week) had IGa levels that were even lower than those who were abstinent. What’s the bottom line? This study proves that regular sex can boost your immunity.
Sex Reduces Pain
During sex, the body produces a hormone called oxytocin. Known as the “love hormone”, oxytocin escalations trigger the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. Once the endorphins kick in, pain is numbed and you feel better for hours, and sometimes even days, after sex. If you suffer from frequent headaches, arthritis, or other reoccurring pain, remember that the act of sex can reduce your level of pain, thanks to oxytocin.
Where’s the proof? While there have been numerous studies performed on the positive effects of oxytocin, one study proves the connection between sex and pain reduction rather simply. The Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine published results of a study conducted in which participants received oxytocin vapors prior to having their fingers pricked with a needle – results established that their pain thresholds were cut in half. Furthermore, oxytocin helps the body sleep better, so it’s no surprise that sex corresponds with better sleep.
Prostate Cancer Risk Lowered with Sex
Prostate cancer is a major worry for many men in the United States, and rightly so because it’s the second most common type of cancer in men. In fact, almost 29,000 men died from prostate cancer in 2009, so it’s no surprise that numerous studies have been performed about the diease. The prostate, a walnut –sized gland between a man’s bladder and penis, is directly related to men’s health and sexual performance.
Interestingly, studies have found a thought-provoking connection between frequent ejaculations in young men in their twenties and a lowered rate of prostate cancer. The most recent studies note that frequent sex and/or ejaculation can decrease the risk of prostate cancer by approximately 33%.
Sex Supports Healthy Pelvic Floor Muscles
Most women have heard of the pelvic floor strengthening exercise known as the kegel, which actually has health benefits for both men and women. In women, strong pelvic floor muscles are associated with greater sexual pleasure and a decreased chance of incontinence later on in life.
While these muscles are important, they have often been overlooked when it comes to women’s health and overall wellbeing. Healthy pelvic floor muscles are those that have an ideal blood supply and are strong and toned – without a healthy pelvic floor, women are susceptible to pelvic organ prolapse, frequent urinations throughout the day and night, loss of vaginal tone, and more.
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